BENGALURU: Family comes first for former Punjab cricketer, Sunny Sohal, who has withdrawn from the upcoming Caribbean Premier League, scheduled from August 18, due to the Covid-19 situation. The six-team tournament is the first major franchise-based cricket competition to start after a long break due to the pandemic. Some strict regulations have been put in place by the organisers, including a two-week quarantine period for those travelling from overseas. All matches will be played across just two venues in Trinidad and Tobago -- Brian Lara Cricket Academy and Queen’s Park Oval.
Sohal left for the US in 2014 and attributed the move to politics in Punjab cricket. Before leaving the Indian shores, he was part of the Kings XI Punjab, Deccan Chargers and Royal Challengers from 2008-2013. Overall, he played IPL 22 matches, scoring 368 runs. Besides, he also featured for India U-19 in the 2007-08 season and made 21 first-class appearances for Punjab.
“Had there been no politics, I think, I would have been playing cricket in India, where I started my career. However, I do consider that I was lucky and fortunate that I have been a part of the CPL, played for the US and many other tournaments too. I also want to help US cricket grow and it is improving here,” said Sohal, who also has a Sunny Sohal Cricket Academy in the US.
Sohal, who now plays for the United States of America, is worried about the prevailing situation in the country. He has played three T20Is for the US so far. The 32-year-old, who was drafted by St Kitts & Nevis Patriots for the CPL, resides in Maryland with his wife and six-year-old kid. And choosing to play in the CPL would have meant leaving them behind, which is a risk he did not want to take.
With more than 155,000 deaths so far in the US, they even top the chart for most worldwide cases, exceeding 4.5 million cases, Sohal’s fear is understandable. “A private jet was supposed to take us from Barbados to Trinidad. And had I decided to go, it could have been difficult to come back (in case of emergency) once the tournament starts, so I withdrew,” said the batsman, who was also drafted by Barbados Tridents for the 2018 edition.
“Look at the cases here. What if the border here gets closed and I am not here. Things like this (CPL) will come next year too, but the family has to come first in such times.” He informed his franchise, who also understood his situation, around two weeks ago.